PIXAR MASTERPIECE REVIEW: “Monsters, Inc.” is voiced by John Goodman (Raising Arizona, Evan Almighty), Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally…, Parental Guidance), Mary Gibbs (The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, Inside Out ), Steve Buscemi (Fargo , Boardwalk Empire [TV series]), James Coburn (The Great Escape, The Nutty Professor ), Jennifer Tilly (Liar Liar, Bound), Bob Peterson (Up, Finding Nemo), Frank Oz (Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back, Sesame Street [TV series]), and John Ratzenberger (Grace of God, Cheers [TV series]). It is directed by Pete Docter (Up, Inside Out ), David Silverman (The Simpsons Movie, The Longest Daycare [Short]), and Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3, Coco), while Docter wrote the story with Jill Culton (Open Season), Jeff Pidgeon (Lifted [Short], Your Friend the Rat [Short]), Ralph Eggleston, Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, A Bug’s Life), and Daniel Gerson (Big Hero 6, Chicken Little). In Monstropolis, a city powered by the screams of children, two buddies named Mike (Crystal) and Sully (Goodman) run into trouble when a child escapes from their factory and falls right into Sully’s hands. It is up to the two monsters to return her to the human world before it is too late.
“Put that thing back where it came from, or so help me!” 2001 brought us many good films, from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” to “The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring.” Out of the many memorable flicks that were to come from 2001, one that will always have a place in my heart is “Monsters Inc.,” the heartwarming story of how one monster must save a child from the clutches of a corporation’s evil scheme. What was once a fun joy ride for me as a young child is now a classic piece of cinema that offers many adult themes and surprises that I now catch on at this age. Like “Toy Story,” this film was made for both kids and adults, and to this day it is still great. Not only does it have an original idea, but it is also carried out in such a well-constructed way. Competition, deception, fear, and love are the themes of this release, and they are all given enough room to push the story along. From the beginning to the end, I was entertained. The world these monsters live in and how their machines are powered by human children’s screams makes for an enriching environment, and our main characters’ conflict and lesson is one to watch. Seeing this film again felt like I was looking at it from a different perspective. Never had I known how intricately planned this was from the very start. There’s so much foreshadowing, but it is on such a subtle level that it takes a while into the movie to really pick up on what’s going on. It’s fantastic. Not only do we get this sense of mystery, but we are also handed an exciting adventure involving Mike and Sully, our favorite monsters. Their chemistry is fun to see, and John Goodman and Billy Crystal did an amazing job on voicing the two. The other characters in this release were also entertaining, whether in a strong role or a minor one. The modeling for these figures was truly awesome, as the animation team made sure to give each monster living in this city a different look. Of course, the animation has improved from “Toy Story 2” as we see more detailed landscapes, with the many buildings and designs of citizens. Although it’s become a bit crude now to watch since the bar of animating has been raised incredibly high, it is still nice to look at; especially Sully, who has many individual hairs that move when he does (that must’ve taken a lot of rendering). Back to the plot itself, this journey felt like a long and rigorous one for being just an hour and thirty minutes. It was emotional and captivating. There’s so much to study in this because a lot goes on. I was still reeling from this fantastic idea of monsters using doors as gateways to scare children and fuel their world when I was thrown into this hidden agenda set by the villains of this story, which was great by the way. For once, the bad guys of a movie weren’t trying to be bad because they are. They actually had a purpose and weren’t even solely thinking about themselves (in case any of you haven’t seen this, I won’t go into further details). This look on the working life of Mike and Sully, which was cool and funny in its own right, soon became an action-packed, stealthy adventure. One full of doors and mind tricks. I remember when I was little and loved watching them race through many doors towards the end of this plot’s run. It was fun (and should be in order to give a kid something to sit through), but at its core, this release does get deep. Sully’s bonding with Boo is lovable, and how this ends will make any viewer happy and sad at the same time. It loves to pull at the heartstrings at times, like some of Pixar’s other works. What adds to this layer of emotions is the musical score, which is by far one of the best things this movie has to offer. Randy Newman does it once again, with a song called “If I Didn’t Have You,” and a sad score that likes to chime in when Sully and Boo have a bonding moment. I love it when soundtracks tell a story, and just listening to this one can make me visualize the film without having to watch it. There’s a lot of inner-working that plays into this film, and I found trouble in picking any issues from it. There were some nitpicks that I had, like figuring out how Mike got out of the snowy place when it would take a three-day hike to do so, but there wasn’t anything too jarring that would leave a bad taste in my mouth. With that said, this movie, in all its glory, is a great, fun-filled adventure. It will make you laugh, cry, and care for its characters. It may not be perfect, but it’s close! FINAL SCORE: 97%= Juicy Popcorn
The movie has been inducted into The Juicy Hall of Fame.
Here is the trailer:
And now, my review for the Pixar short, “For the Birds.”
MOVIE SHORT REVIEW: “For the Birds” is a 2000 Pixar short that is directed by Ralph Eggleston, who also voices it. The short follows a group of tiny birds who try to defend their territory from a tall, goofy bird.
Another simple, yet fun Pixar short, “For the Birds” is a nice treat to see before the feature film. It’s story of a huge, loony bird wanting to hang out with much smaller birds can be hilarious, and the sound effects and voice work really pull off the comedy. I don’t know if there’s much of a lesson behind this short, besides how karma can get you back, but it was entertaining to watch regardless. The animation can be crude at times, like “Monsters Inc.,” but like I’ve said before with the other short films and feature-length movies, it adds to the appeal. I wouldn’t call this Pixar’s best, but it’s definitely one of their most memorable. FINAL SCORE: 82%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the short: